No matter what sport it is, if India and Pakistan are involved, a rivalry is a dead given. Today, our attention is trained on Hockey. To be more specific, the 2017 Asia Cup Hockey tournament. India and Pakistan have clashed six times, with the latter winning on 5 occasions. Prior to this match, India’s last victory was in the 2003 edition of the Asia Cup Hockey tournament. However, on this day 15th October 2017 in Dhaka, India clawed back a victory. At the end of 4 quarters, the scoreline read 3-1 in India’s favour. The match took place at the Maulana Bhashani Stadium in Dhaka. India were already assured a Super 4 slot, Pakistan needed a win to qualify.
Both teams started off well without either side giving an inch. For the first 10 minutes, things looked even between the 2 sides. Early in the game, Pakistan won a penalty corner. However, some good defensive action prevented the Men in Green from taking an early lead and psychological advantage. When the 1st quarter ended, it was 0-0.
When the 2nd Quarter began, India cranked it up another notch. 2 minutes into the quarter, Chinglensana Singh broke the deadlock and took the lead for India. A few minutes later Pakistan won another penalty corner but they were denied by Suraj Karkera. The India goal seemed to have prompted a response from Pakistan as they attacked in droves. But Suraj Karkera was ready for them as he pulled off save after spectacular save. The rest of the Indian team gave Karkera a breather as they went on the attack but the shot went wide. India went into the break with a 1-0 lead.
As the 3rd quarter got underway, desperation set in the Pakistan camp. 2 yellow cards and five minute suspensions saw the team down to 9 men. Indian goalie Karkera was again given a workout by the Pakistani attacks. But he conceded no goals and kept his sheet clean. Both teams won penalty corners but failed to convert them. Finally, in the 43rd minute, Ramandeep Singh broke through and doubled the lead. Three minutes later, the lead trebled, courtesy a sensational effort from Harmanpreet Singh. The 3rd quarter ended with India taking a 3-0 lead.
In the final quarter, Pakistan began to play with a new sense of vigour. It soon paid off as Ali Shan fired in a goal to open Pakistan’s account. But it was too good to last as they succumbed to pressure. They asked for a referral as they thought an Indian stick blocked the shot, but it was turned down. Replacement keeper Akash Chikte picked up where Karkera left off and prevented Pakistan from scoring any more goals. Pakistan kept attacking but the Indian defence held firm. At last, the final whistle blew and India bagged their 2nd victory over Pakistan.